A little over 4 years ago I moved to Albany to pursue a PhD. I'd only ever lived in Louisville and Bowling Green, Kentucky so moving here was a bit different. So here is a list of ways Albany has made me better and made me worse....
  1. Independence
    I've always lived near family and had friends I've known for years around. So, living here is different because I don't have a wise social network of people to call on when I need something. This is both good and bad.
  2. I hate driving now
    Albany drivers and pedestrians are the worst. Seriously. JUST FOLLOW BASIC TRAFFIC LAWS. ALSO, DON'T WALK IN FRONT OF CARS. I get crazy stressed out whenever I have to drive, so I avoid it, but this avoidance has apparently made my car have issues (did you know not driving regularly can cause cars to have issues, it can...)
  3. Roots
    I've always been proud to be from Louisville and Kentucky. They may have their faults, but I love them and the people who live there. Living away made me realize how special these places and people are and how much I want to live there again. Also, my southern identity has been strengthened, something I wouldn't have imagined before.
  4. I've defended coal mining (and other things I once railed against)
    This isn't to say I defend the companies, but the people. At home, it's easier to be anti-coal because people are largely still pro-coal miners and the region. However, up here those nuances get lost and people don't understand the culture and history bound up in these places. Also, not everyone in the south is dumb, or ignorant just because you don't understand their choices.
  5. Religion
    I grew up Catholic and went to church semi-regularly and CCD classes. But once I aged out I never went other than holidays to church and I'm not sure how much I ever felt connected to church. But living away from my family I found I was lonely and missing that connection. So, I stated going to mass and I felt more connected. I don't go regularly anymore, but if I'm feeling lost or alone I do. I still only consider myself "culturally Catholic" but I like the rituals and belonging at mass.